After preventable, injury-causing accidents, the first thing that victims and their lawyers do is determine who is at fault. In most cases, only one party is at fault. For example, in a typical auto accident case, the negligent driver is at fault, and in a slip and fall case, the negligent property owner is at fault.
But in truck accidents, multiple parties may share the blame and the liability for any injuries that occur. That’s because there are often many hands involved in the operation of a single semi-truck.
There’s a driver, the company using the truck to transport goods, and in some cases, yet another company that owns the truck. But that’s not all—other motorists can also contribute to and even cause truck accidents, as can the local, state, and even federal government.
In this blog, we explore how each of these parties can be considered liable after an accident.
How Truck Drivers Can Be Held Liable
Truck drivers can be held liable after crashes the same way that all drivers can be held liable. If they speed, drive while distracted or impaired, fail to stop at stop signs, change lanes without checking for other vehicles or follow other vehicles too closely, they can be considered negligent and liable for damages.
But truck drivers must also obey additional rules established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These rules include having proper licensure and adhering to a strict rest and off-duty schedule.
How Truck Companies Can Be Held Liable
Truck companies can be held liable after crashes if they intentionally overload trucks, load them unevenly so that they shift in transit (making it easier for the truck to unbalance or for the goods to fall off the truck), hire unqualified drivers, or force drivers to work beyond the total number of allowable hours in a given time. It’s up to truck companies to be aware of all FMCSA regulations and abide by them regardless of what they’re transporting.
How Truck Owners Can Be Held Liable
Truck owners can be held liable after crashes if they fail to repair or maintain their trucks. It’s not uncommon for a semi-truck to rack up 100,000 miles or more in a single year! Those trucks need frequent maintenance, including the replacement of critical parts like brakes and tires.
Failing to keep trucks in tip-top shape can cause breakdowns or cause drivers to suddenly lose control of the vehicle.
How Other Drivers Can Be Held Liable
Other drivers can be held liable for truck accidents when they directly crash into trucks or their negligent driving causes truck drivers to swerve and lose control. Sometimes, these drivers are involved in the crashes themselves, and other times they may be hit-and-run or “miss-and-run” drivers. Proving these drivers’ liability can be difficult, as attention is often focused on the truck drivers.
How Governmental Bodies and Contractors Can Be Held Liable
Governmental bodies and contractors can be held liable for truck accidents when they don’t maintain or design roads to a reasonable degree of safety or fail to warn truck drivers about potential hazards. For example, a steep road may be extremely dangerous for fully-loaded trucks and require a runaway truck ramp, or a road may be so narrow that trucks can’t safely drive on it without encroaching on the space of other vehicles.
Two Or More Parties May Be Liable After a Truck Accident
After a truck accident, our lawyers work hard to collect evidence to determine who is at fault. In some cases, we uncover that multiple parties share liability for a crash.
For example, the truck driver may have been speeding, the trailer he was hauling may have been overloaded, and his truck’s brakes may have been worn and in need of replacement. The combination of these factors caused him to lose control of his truck and crash into another vehicle, which means liability may be split among multiple parties.
We Hold ALL Parties Liable to Get Our Clients Maximum Compensation
When we build truck accident claims for our clients, we dig deep to determine who is liable for their crashes. We know that when semi-trucks are involved in accidents, there’s a good chance multiple parties are involved, and we work hard to identify and hold all of those parties accountable for their negligence.
If you or someone you love was recently injured in a truck accident, the Oklahoma truck accident lawyers at Parrish DeVaughn want to help. We have the experience and track record of success you need to get peace of mind and a fair compensation check. Contact us today for a free consultation.